Become a Reading Machine
Become a Reading Machine
Whether you’re dealing with long or short reading passages, you’ve got to have critical reading skills. But you can’t just study for reading passages as easily as you can for math or grammar. If you don’t know how to deal with triangles, you can study the precise rules that apply to all triangles. But if you’re having trouble getting through reading passages, it’s not quite as easy to figure out what to do.
So how do you study for reading passages? The answer is simple: Thou shalt read. Read! Read like mad. From this instant until the day you take the SAT, read, read, read. Reeeeeead. But don’t read like you watch TV. You need to keep your mind active as you read, look between the lines and think about the mechanics, or the inner workings, of everything you read. For example,
  1. What’s the author’s main point or purpose? Does the author, for instance, argue that lyrics to pop songs will corrupt America’s youth?
  2. How does the author’s attitude relate to the point being made? Does the writer talk about pop stars in tones of disgust or of admiration?
  3. How does the author use language, sentence structure, and rhetorical devices, such as similes and metaphors? Perhaps the writer is shocked by a pop star’s new look and compares her to a siren, a character from Greek mythology who lured men to their dooms.
The point here is to train yourself to keep your brain on SAT alert while you read. Don’t just coast. If you ask questions about what’s going on as you read in your daily life, when the new SAT comes along, the RP questions will just feel like extensions of the reading mastery you’ve already established.
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